As we’re sure you’ve noticed, this newsletter has been undergoing a makeover. We tend to do that piece-meal, putting out changes, seeing how people react to them, and adjusting accordingly. Your thoughts and feedback since we put out this current edition inspired us to make some more changes, as you’ll see today. Our goal is to make this as easy and enjoyable to read as possible. Once you’ve gone through today’s email, please let us know what you think about it.
P.S.: Frost is just back from Sierra Leone and is putting the final touches on the next Balkan installment. On-The-Ground will return on Monday!
In recent months, Ford, GM, Renault, and other automakers have scaled back EV investments amid a broader downturn in the industry. Tesla has also warned of slowing sales, while Hertz announced it would sell one-third of its EV fleet
On Thursday, Volvo announced it would no longer fund Polestar, an EV company it and a Chinese automaker co-founded, and may divest from it. Polestar has lost 83% of its stock value since 2022 despite $1B+ investments from Volvo
While a record 1.2M EVs were sold in the US last year, signs have emerged of a global slowdown: EV sales grew 40% in the fourth quarter (October-December) of 2023, down from 49% growth the previous quarter and 52% from a year prior
That has shaken investor confidence that investments in EVs will be profitable in the short term
KEY STORY The Olympics, but with Steroids
A company called “The Enhanced Games” has raised funding to host an Olympic-style game that encourages athletes to use performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)
The Olympics bans hundreds of performance-enhancing drugs and regularly tests to see if athletes are using them. It punishes PED use with suspensions and medal revocations
The “Enhanced Games” is pitching a new model of international competition that treats – and embraces – PEDs as “advances in medical science”
It has now received financial backing from several prominent investors, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel and former Coinbase executive Balaji Srinivasan
The company plans to hold its first event in 2025
“Just as the ancient Olympics were revived and renovated in 1896 for the Victorian world, the Enhanced Games is once again renovating the Olympic model for the twenty-first century,” the company’s co-founder said
The games will focus on “world records in popular sports such as track and field, swimming, gymnastics, weight lifting and combat sports,” its co-founder said in a statement
Should athletes be allowed to use PEDs? That is today’s question of the day. Let us know your thoughts!
LMNT really made a splash with Roca last year, hydrating our way into the hearts of all you Roca Riders! We're thrilled to continue our journey together into 2024, helping the Roca Riders achieve their hydration goals
This year, we want to shine the spotlight on different readers who have fueled their bodies with LMNT’s salty flavors. Today is Roca Reader Myah from Chicago
“I have been a fan of LMNT for about a year now. I know after a good workout, hiking or if I just haven't had enough water that day LMNT will be the PERFECT drink to refuel my body,” Myah wrote us
“I also feel good knowing there are no hidden chemicals or tons of sweeteners, and that I am refueling my body with all positive things! It is VERY hard to find that mixture these days”
PS – If you’re a Roca Reader who has enjoyed LMNT, send us your story to feature next!
KEY STORY US Sanctions Settlers
US President Joe Biden signed an executive order allowing the US to sanction West Bank settlers involved in violence against Palestinians
The West Bank – a Palestinian territory in which hundreds of thousands of Israeli “settlers” live – has seen a dramatic increase in violence since October 7
The first round of US sanctions targeted four Israelis believed to have been involved in attacks against Palestinians
“Israel must do more to stop violence against civilians in the West Bank and hold accountable those responsible for it," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said following the announcement
“Settlers” – Israelis who move to the West Bank – do so for economic, religious, or nationalist reasons. Settlements are illegal under international law and are a frequent source of tension between Israelis and Palestinians
The new US sanctions will freeze all assets held in the US by targeted individuals and lock them out of the US financial system
Israel’s government called the sanctions unnecessary, saying it already takes action “against people who break the law”
Answers to yesterday’s poll and question are below!
POPCORN Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour
💪Dome ups: A Georgia congressman admitted to doing pull-ups in the top of the Capitol Dome. He claims he was being safe, adding, “I’m a Marine. I know safety. I’m an ER doc. I know safety”
🚔 Third-degree p*rn: A Malaysian court issued a three-year jail sentence to a mother who splashed boiling water on her 13-year-old son for watching p*rn under her data plan
😇Philly Jesus Rises: A Philadelphia Lyft driver known as “Philly Jesus” is back on the road. He became a local celebrity by dressing as Jesus and playing gospel music in his car but gave up the gig in 2016
Bud Light seems to be going in a slightly different direction now…
🍻 Bud’s new look: Bud Lightannounced a new partnership with comedian Shane Gillis in an effort to recover from its costly partnership with transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney
🧻Messi napkin: A napkin on which Lionel Messi signed his first Barcelona contract is going to auction with a £300,000 ($380,000) starting price. He signed the napkin in December 2000
🛫Italy does the Wright thing: Ethiopia hailed the return of its first airplane nearly 90 years after Benito Mussolini’s fascist Italian government stole it. It flew about 30 miles in 1935 before Italy took it
COMMUNITY Crown the King: Comedians
As is Roca tradition, every Friday we ask our readers 20 questions or polls and include the answers the following Friday. Let us know your thoughts!
We are trying a new type of 20 Questions today: “Crown the King.” We think you’ll enjoy it – instructions below.
Our goal is to find out Roca Nation’s favorite member of a category. We do this is by giving you 20 options, which you can either “smash” or “pass.” Whichever gets “smashed” the most is the champion. We’ll include the ranked list next week.
In honor of Bud Light’s new partnership with Shane Gillis (see above), this week’s category is comedians! The link is here. We’re excited to see who wins.
Have a great weekend. Last week’s answers are below the Wrap!
COMMUNITY Roca Reader Takes
Is Italy on your travel wish list? 👍 SÌ: 72% 👎 No: 28%
What are your thoughts on Elon Musk?
Elisha from West Chester, Pennsylvania: “Elon Musk is a "dynamic" individual whose brilliance is unmistakable, yet his interactions with reality, particularly with the average person, are sometimes disconnected. While his ventures showcase innovation, there's a perception that he tends to trivialize or overlook certain aspects, expressing dissatisfaction when circumstances deviate from his expectations (see meaning of man-child here). His actions seem designed to provoke controversy rather than solely advance progress. This approach, to some may be called captivating, has sparked my concerns about its potential risks in politics, social media, and the environment. In short, I am not a fan.”
Tom from Salt Lake City, Utah: “I admire what he has done. He’s controversial, but he’s damn smart, and his companies all seek to improve the world. People should spend less time talking about him and more time working on similar world-improvement projects.”
Last Week’s 20 questions:
Last week, amid news of the continued decline of childhood magazine staples like Sports Illustrated and National Geographic, we did a lot of reminiscing and ran a nostalgia-themed edition to honor the bygone world that we grew up in, from the Rainforest Cafe to ESPN Zone. Here are a few of the top choices per prompt:
Your favorite restaurant as a kid?
Favorite TV show as a kid?
What's something from your childhood that no longer exits?
Are you still friends with your middle school best friend?
"Yes! Even though we live states apart we talk every day. We also haven't seen each other since 8th grade.
Yes - Jack and Jack - Jack^2
Friends, but not best friends
A scent that reminds you of your childhood?
Fresh cut grass
A sound that reminds you of your childhood?
Ice cream truck
What's something you had growing up that you wish kids had today?
No social media
Best school lunch?
My high school had a McRib knockoff we called Corrugated Beef (even though it was pork).
The greasy pizza with a carton of chocolate milk
Anything with tater tot’s on the side
Where did you grow up?
Ngaruawahia, New Zealand
Rural south dakota
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Did that materialize?
I hope? I'm in college trying to figure out how to make it possible
Nope, but it's all good
Yup, except for the long legs
No, and I am SO glad
A movie you loved as a kid that you don't like now?
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
A movie you loved as a kid that you still like?
Sound of Music
Wizard of Oz
Your favorite athlete as a kid?
Mary Lou Retton
Your favorite musician as a kid?
What's something random you're nostalgic for?
Saturday morning cartoons
Being unreachable (no cell, internet)
The earlier Minecraft tutorial levels
John Deere Tracters
Probably Mr. Rogers
A TV commercial that could transport you back to childhood?
The Cadbury's eyebrow advert or the one with the gorilla's drumming
Doublemint Gum - "Double your pleasure, double your fun, with Doublemint, Doublemint, Doublemint Gum"
Any barbie commercial
A valuable lesson you learned at a young age?
Treat others better than they treat you.
If you want something enough, you can get it. Now I know things are not exactly as simple, but truly putting your mind to something, helps tremendously in it becoming true.
Protect your science project from siblings
When did you stop believing in Santa?
I never did stop. Santa is real!
When I caught my mom filling our stockings
7 (older siblings ruined it)
More than anything else, what do you miss from your childhood?Being carefree
Living at home with my family
Playing with my best friend all day
EDITOR’S NOTE Final Thoughts
As mentioned, we are very eager to hear your thoughts and feedback on today’s new format. Thanks to all of you for the feedback you’ve been sending in in recent weeks. It’s been extremely helpful for enabling us to improve.